Our Overnight Alaska River Rafting and Camp is tailor made for the outdoor enthusiast that wants the backcountry experience but only has a limited amount of time on their vacation. Floating almost 20 miles and combined with a bush plane flight back to McCarthy, this is a trip that can wet the most adventurous of whistles. As far as Alaska wilderness adventures go, this unique excursion is a bucket-list item for the adventure enthusiast!
Your overnight rafting trip begins at 10 am on day one at our office in McCarthy, Alaska where we pack all of your personal camping gear into our water tight dry bags, outfit you with all the necessary safety equipment including Life Preservers and Dry Suits, and answer any last minute questions you may have. The adventure truly begins after a short shuttle and informative river and safety orientation chat by your guide, just below the terminal moraine of the Kennicott Glacier, where the glacier sends large volumes of water cascading into the fun and splashy class II-III whitewater Kennicott River. Outfitted with drysuits, you’ll stay warm and dry as we descend down a waterway that was frozen in ice not 100 yards upstream from our put-in.
After the fun six miles of the Kennicott, we merge with the larger flow of the Nizina River, whose origin starts further upstream at the Nizina Glacier. The Nizina River offers a totally different style of boating, with its large, rolling waves it is far less splashy than the Kennicott and provides us with ample time to take in the grandeur that surrounds us.
At about this time, many a stomach starts to growl. Our first river meal is fast approaching, with a leisurely lunch stop that gives all ample time to explore the river banks and spot animals and their tracks, your guide will regale you with stories of the region, both natural and historical. The lunch stop also gives you time to scout around on the banks of the river where Alaskan wildflowers are abundant and the chances of spotting Wolf, Grizzly, or Moose tracks are ever present.
Upstream some of the towering peaks of the St. Elias Mountain range are visible, with names such as Bona and Churchill, these mountains combine with others to make the St. Elias the tallest coastal mountain range in the world. Once we merge with the Nizina River we enter into an area that has been unmarked by roads and development for all of time. It is hard to find a trip, be it rafting or hiking, that will take you into the wilderness so quickly!
Half way through our epic first day of rafting, we stop for camp and enjoy a hand crafted Alaskan meal right on the river bar, your guides displaying their individual culinary skills. We offer full service outfitting for all our overnight rafting participants, meaning you don’t need to worry about supplying your own sleeping bag or tent, and our guides are always willing to lend a hand with anything that you may need. After our tents have been set and our bellies are filled with exotic river fare, we can either take a late evening sun lit hike or relax around the fire with a cocktail and stories. One of our favorite river campfire snacks is freshly toasted Alaska S’mores!
On day two, after a leisurely coffee and hearty breakfast we hop back on the boats and continue on downstream while the river continues its rolling, fast paced pitch. Before long, the river begins to narrow and seemingly, in just one bend, we enter the Nizina River Canyon. Towering limestone cliffs have constricted the river into one channel where depths can get over a speculated 100 feet in areas. As the river narrows we again encounter rapids and frothy boils, created by the large volume of water trying to make its way through the twisty canyon, on its way towards the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific Ocean.
Once through the canyon we meet our bush plane, but our adventure is not over yet! One of our highly skilled local pilots will be waiting to load us and our gear up, for a beautiful plane flight back to McCarthy, in time for an early afternoon lunch in town! As with all our multi day trips, we pack out menus full of Alaskan based fare such as Wild Salmon, Reindeer Sausage, and Alaska produce. This trip is truly a unique and rewarding adventure here in Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve.
Trips offered daily day through the summer season, dependent upon air service availability
$525 Per Youth (8-16)
$575 per Adult (17+)
~ Camping in the Scenic Limestone Nizina Canyon
~ Listening to the River Flow Past From the Comfort of Your Tent
~ Gourmet Meal Plan that includes locally sourced Meats & Veggies
~ Highest Quality Group River Gear in the Wrangell Mountains
~ Scenic Bush Plane Flight from Take-Out back to McCarthy